Flyers 4, Hurricanes 3, SO
With one of the best third-period comebacks of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes were poised to ruin the return of former coach Peter Laviolette and a disposed backup goaltender.
But like most things in the first three months of this season, the end result wasn’t entirely positive for the Canes.
Spotting the Philadelphia Flyers three goals and seemingly stymied at every turn by former teammate Michael Leighton in net, Carolina scored three goals – two by Jussi Jokinen
-- in a span of seven minutes late in the third period to send the game into overtime.
The Canes started the sudden death session 4-on-3 as Jeff Carter’s high-sticking penalty at the end of regulation bled over into OT for a minute, but Carolina failed to even get a shot on goal against Leighton on the key man-advantage opportunity and ended up losing in a shootout 4-3.
“I guess we just kept looking for better shots,” coach Paul Maurice said of his team’s failed attempt to win the game in OT on the power play. “We wanted some motion and some guys moving, and we had that, but the shot didn’t get taken. Obviously, we’ve talked about that and we had the guys on the ice who are used to being in that situation and we need to get one on (net) -- no question.”
Maurice sent shootout aces Tuomo Ruutu
and Jokinen out to face Leighton, but neither could come through with the journeyman goalie stopping Ruutu’s backhander with a glove save and Jokinen hitting the far post as Danny Briere and Mike Richards converted against Cam Ward
to end it.
Jokinen, with the most shootout goals (26) of any player in NHL history, said he used to talk to Leighton on the bench about his strategy before going on the ice before each shootout when the goalie played for the Canes.
“I’ve had lots of conversations with him so it was a bit of a mental battle,” Jokinen said. “I still think I had him and I had a good shot, but I hit the post. It’s a tough loss.”
Carolina finished with 40 shots, including 20 in the third-period comeback, while Ward had to stop seven in OT, several of the spectacular fashion, to get Carolina into the shootout.
“The comeback showed the character of our team,” Jokinen said. “We knew Leighton hasn’t played that much this year and he was a little shaky, so we just had to find ways to get pucks to the net and find those rebounds and get some ugly goals, which is what we got today.”
Jokinen can claim the two ugly goals, while Brandon Sutter
gets the hustle play of the night to bring the Canes within 3-2 with 4:02 left as he beat Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn to a misfired long outlet pass from Joni Pitkanen
that bounced off the end boards and out of Leighton’s reach.
Sutter’s ninth of the season and second in as many games came just 49 seconds before Jokinen’s game-tying score.
The Canes had plenty of good scoring chances against their former teammate, claimed by the Flyers on re-entry waivers 11 days ago, but came up empty through 40 minutes and trailed by two before Philly made it 3-0 with a third-period power-play goal.
In the second period alone, Leighton stopped Ruutu on a blistering one-timer from the right circle, frustrated Ray Whitney on the doorstep and came out to cut down the angle on a Sergei Samsonov
breakaway, which he shot wide.
Ward was able to keep it a two-goal game late in the second when he made an acrobatic glove stop on Briere, who broke in all alone.
The Canes peppered Leighton early, but it was Philadelphia that struck first midway through the opening period, just a few seconds after Jokinen’s shot on a Carolina power play trickled inches from the goal line, only to be cleared away by defenseman Matt Carle.
Just 20 seconds later, an apparent goal by the Flyers was disallowed when Darroll Powe batted the puck into the net with his glove. However, four minutes later Philly did make it 2-0 when Jeff Carter beat Ward with a shot from the high slot.
Leighton’s best save came with 42 seconds in the period when he made a pad save on a backhander by Matt Cullen, who appeared to have an open net before the former Carolina goalie slid over to the far post.
Maurice, for one, wasn’t surprised by the third period comeback despite Carolina’s lack of consistency in that period all season long, having been outscored 54-25 coming in.
“A lot of it has to do with how you play,” Maurice said. “If you’re down three and you’re not playing very well it’s very difficult to believe in the game that you can come back, but we left enough sitting on their goal line that if we got one we could get three.”
Niclas Wallin played in his 500th career game. … The Canes fell to 2-6-4 against the Flyers over their last 12 meetings. … Ward now has a career mark of 5-14 in shootouts. … Carolina has 120 shots over its last three games but has managed just one point. … The Canes scored the game-tying goal just 13 seconds after Laviolette had called his timeout. … The Hurricanes are 3-4 in shootouts this season. … Jokinen tied Whitney and Ruutu for the team lead with 10 goals. … Pitkanen logged a season-high 33:46 on 38 shifts.
|Three star selections